It’s been over 40 years since the San Jose Earthquakes first took the pitch at Spartan Stadium. Between then and now, the team has survived various incarnations, including name changes, league moves and a relocation to and return from Houston. It’s been a long and storied history, with some of the best of the best playing for a team that was originally slated to bear the name of the much larger City of San Francisco.
San Jose’s “never say die” attitude has made it one of the most legendary American soccer teams, and now the journey of the club – from the early days in 1974 through the present – is chronicled in journalist Gary Singh’s new book, The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy.
Released on Monday, Singh’s book mixes the Earthquakes’ chronology alongside his personal history with the team; interspersing evidence of his presence at major events, like “the greatest game in MLS history” in 2003, with details surrounding his experience to make for a more interesting read than a straight retelling of historical fact.
“All the hope and the glory and the sadness and the heartbreak and the working–class attitude and the victories and the defeats and there’s a lot of defeats in there – the readers want all of that,” said Singh. “They don’t want a bunch of dry, boring statistical stuff.
“I’m a fan and a journalist,” he continued. “You can tell that from the book. I just thought that was a better way to write the story. I don’t operate on a binary of fan or journalist. I’m somewhere between.”
While The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy does contain the “boring statistical stuff,” it’s not a boring read and even includes some surprises. Singh, who grew up watching the team before covering the Earthquakes off and on for Metro Silicon Valley and the now–defunct SlideTackleMagazine.com, said the biggest revelation came in the form of a clause almost included in current head coach Dominic Kinnear’s contract when he signed on as the coach of the Houston Dynamo – something Singh explains in Chapter 10. Additionally, the book is full of quotes pulled from interviews Singh has conducted throughout the years and written in a style similar to his weekly column, Silicon Alleys.
“This is a great story,” said Singh. “It’s a story that I think a lot of people in San Jose don’t know about and are going to wish they had been there for all of this. It’s a unique history that only three other teams in this league – Seattle, Portland and Vancouver – have. It’s a San Jose story, not just a soccer story.”
Singh said the book came easily to him, noting that it took approximately three and a half months to complete and the final pages wrote themselves with the rehiring of Kinnear and opening of Avaya Stadium.
“The stadium was opening and the timing was perfect and that was essentially the reason I knew I could release this book with a bang,” he said. “It really is a brand new era. It’s closing the first 40 years and opening the second and it was a natural process. Much of the book wrote itself.”
An official book launch party is scheduled for Thursday, March 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at San Pedro Square Market where Singh will hold a question and answer session along with signing copies of the book. Additionally, a signing is scheduled at California Custom/Soccer International, 3270 Keller Street in Santa Clara, on Saturday, March 21 from noon to 2 p.m. Visit www.garysingh.info for a complete list of upcoming events.